ZURICH (AP) — Host Brazil and the seven highest-ranked teams in FIFA's October standings will be given the top seeds in the group draw for the 2014 World Cup.
FIFA's executive committee decided on Friday on a system which means Belgium and Colombia — which did not qualify for the 2010 World Cup — are almost assured of being seeded in the Dec. 6 draw if they advance as expected this month.
The current top seven teams are Spain, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Colombia, Belgium and Uruguay. Brazil is ranked No. 8. FIFA said the other three draw pots in the 32-team tournament will be determined by "geographic and sports criteria."
FIFA originally planned to agree on a seeding method just before the draw in Salvador de Bahia. But it has opted for a simple reference to its world rankings rather than also weigh teams' performances at previous World Cups.
FIFA will publish the next rankings on Oct. 17. In other decisions at the two-day board meeting which ended Friday: — FIFA approved two measures to protect players' health. Cooling breaks after the 30th minute of each half in matches can be taken if temperatures rise above 32 Celsius (89 Fahrenheit), and a defibrillator must be available at every international match.
— A further grant of $800,000 was made to create mini-pitches for Syrian refugees in camps in neighboring Jordan. — Iraq was refused permission to lift a ban on playing home international friendlies because of security risks.
— In outstanding business from FIFA's two-year reform program after a series of scandals, proposals to introduce age- and term-limits for football officials, including the FIFA presidency, will be overseen by executive committee member Theo Zwanziger of Germany. A decision is due at the 2014 FIFA Congress next June in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
— A task force to promote women's football will work on a proposal to establish a Club World Cup. — An emergency management committee will take over running the Solomon Islands Football Federation and hold new elections.